The nomination thread is now closed, and it's time to vote for the best offensive lineman at Nebraska. Nebraska has a proud tradition on the offensive line, as Husker offensive linemen have won the Outland Trophy six times. When combined with the three Blackshirts that won the Outland, Nebraska leads college football with eight winners. So which offensive lineman is the best ever at Nebraska? Our nominees are Bob Brown, Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Will Shields, Zach Wiegert, and Dominic Raiola.
Below the jump, we'll have a little bit of history on each of the nominees, plus an opportunity to discuss below. If you aren't yet a member of CornNation, registration is free and easy.
Bob Brown wasn't necessarily the most decorated Husker offensive lineman during his college career, but he sure made his mark in the NFL. He was a unanimous all-American in 1963, leading the Huskers to their first Big Eight championship that season. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him with the second overall pick in the 1964 NFL draft, and was named to the NFL's "All Decade" team for the 1960's. He was the NFL/NFC's offensive lineman of the year three times, and is only one of two former Huskers to be enshrined in both the college and pro football Halls of Fame.
Dave Rimington is the only two-time winner of the Outland Trophy. In his senior season, he added the Lombardi Award along with his second Outland. An outstanding student (two time academic All-American), he was named to the NCAA's "Top Five Student Athlete" in 1982. A first round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals, he played five seasons with the Bengals, then two with the Philadelphia Eagles before retiring. He now is President of the Boomer Esasion Foundation, helping raise funds to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
Any doubts that Nebraska would suffer from the loss of Dave Rimington were erased when Dean Steinkuhler burst into national prominence at offensive guard. In his senior season, he was a consensus all-American and helped clear the road for the "Triplets" of Turner Gill, Mike Rozier, and Irving Fryar. Nebraska averaged 52 points a game in that magical 1983 season that ended with that painful loss in the Orange Bowl, where Steinkuhler scored on the famed Fumblerooskie.
Steinkuhler was drafted with the second overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft, spending eight years with the Houston Oilers. Steinkuhler's sons came to Nebraska, but on the other side of the line. Ty was a force on that 2008 defensive line, while Baker Steinkuhler will attempt to replace Ndamukong Suh. If there ever was a precedent for a team losing an Outland/Lombardi Award winner where the team actually got better, the name Steinkuhler has to come to mind. That's a heck of a precedent going into the 2010 season.
Will Shields was the first native Oklahoman to earn a scholarship to Nebraska, and was a three-year starter in Lincoln. In his senior season, he was an all-American and won the 1992 Outland Trophy. He went on to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 14 year career, playing in ten Pro Bowls. He was named the NFL's Man of the Year in 2003 for the work of his "Will to Succeed" foundation serving the disadvantaged in the Kansas City area.
And yes, he ran the Fumblerooskie to success in that classic 52-7 beatdown of Colorado on Halloween in 1992. Sadly, this play is now illegal...
The Fremont native was a three-year all-Big Eight right tackle for the Huskers in the early 90's. A second-team all-American in 1993, Zach Wiegert won the Outland Trophy in his senior season. When both Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer went down with injuries that season, it fell upon the offensive line to grind it out. Against Kansas State, the Huskers ground it out in in sausage-like fashion; the Wildcats knew that Nebraska was going to run the ball right at them, but couldn't stop them. The St. Louis Rams drafted Wiegert in the second round of the 1995 draft, and went on to play four seasons with the Rams, four more with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and then finished his career with three seasons with the Houston Texans.
Dominic Raiola was a two-time all-Big XII center during his three-year Husker career. After wining the initial Dave Rimington Award in a concensus all-American season in 2000, he bypassed his senior season to declare for the NFL draft. Raiola was a finalist for both the Outland and Lombardi awards as a junior. He was a second round draft pick of the Detroit Lions, and is preparing for his tenth NFL season with the Lions. In workouts this season, he'll probably spend quite a bit of time facing off with Outland and Lombardi winner Ndamukong Suh.
So who's your vote for best lineman?